CareerBuilder in Review After Messy Split With C-K

Bowl-Poll Fallout Caused Agency to Quit; Four Shops Vie for $60M Account

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Fresh off its contentious breakup with longtime agency Cramer-Krasselt, CareerBuilder has opened its search for a new shop to handle its $60 million creative advertising account.
In its first comment since splitting with longtime agency C-K, CareerBuilder said the decision to open a review was not based on 'any single factor.'
In its first comment since splitting with longtime agency C-K, CareerBuilder said the decision to open a review was not based on 'any single factor.'

Said to be pitching the Chicago-based job website are the hometown offices of Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett, Interpublic Group of Cos.' DraftFCB and Omnicom Group's DDB, along with Boston's Arnold, part of Havas. Spokespeople for the first three declined to comment; Arnold could not be reached at press time.

The timetable for a decision was unclear.

Bowl ads didn't measure up
The account is up for grabs because of the No. 1 recruitment site's messy breakup with C-K. The agency said CareerBuilder put the account up for review after its Super Bowl ads failed to crack the top 10 in USA Today's Ad Meter poll. C-K immediately quit because, as agency CEO Peter Krivkovich put it, "There are a few times in your life when you have to tell someone to f--- off and mean it."

In the marketer's first comment since the breakup, a CareerBuilder spokeswoman disputed Mr. Krivkovich's account, saying, in a statement: "The decision to do an agency review this year was not based upon the USA Today poll or any single factor. While this year's campaign is good, it did not carry the same breakthrough impact as previous years. ... We are looking for a creative partner who can rise to the challenge of consistently delivering stunning creative work from a grounded, insightful strategy."

The statement went on to say, "CareerBuilder.com appreciates the work that Cramer-Krasselt has done for our organization over the last five years. We hoped that C-K would participate in the review process and are sorry they chose not to participate. We wish them the best of luck in the future."

DDB an Ad Meter vet
If winning the Ad Meter -- which measures whether 238 people in two states liked the ads, and not the ads' effectiveness -- is still a priority for CareerBuilder, then DDB, Chicago, would have to be viewed as the favorite to win the business because it's the agency of record for mega-brewer Anheuser-Busch. A-B has won the contest for nine straight years, thanks in part to a market-testing process that mirrors the Ad Meter process.

Both DDB and DraftFCB have relationships with Tribune Co., which, along with fellow publishers Gannett Co. and McClatchy Co., owns CareerBuilder. DDB is the agency of record for the Chicago Tribune, having beaten out Burnett in the final round of the review for the business. DraftFCB works with Tribune's Los Angeles Times.
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